Amtrak teases upgraded bedding/amenities for sleeping cars

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,478
I agree...bring back full diner service, and the heck with "amenity kits"...I'll bring my own toiletries, thank you...
Even if we couldn’t get full service dining back could they at least invest that amount of money into better quality food? At least I might be able to eat the chocolate bar as my dessert. (No gf dessert options in contemporary dining)
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
706
The two options are not mutually exclusive. They could always make it an option to have the SCA put the blanket on the bed but have it initially provided in the packaging (if I'm being particularly picky I might opt to watch them put it on, but in general "I have a blanket in a plastic bag" transitioning to "there is a blanket on my bed" isn't something I'm going to be spinning conspiracy theories about).

The biggest issue with telling me to do it myself is that it's a royal pain to get the blanket under the foot of the bed.

If it's truly first class service, the SCA should make up your accommodation at night and take it back to seating in the morning.

If it's something akin to the former slumbercoaches, which I really wish Amtrak would introduce, I see nothing wrong with DIY. In fact DIY would help make it more affordable.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
273
Other then the floor (and little of it)...just where are you gonna put all that stuff when you take it off the bed?!?!? And just how many people take a shower on the train anyway??? The few times I do, I'd go to the larger downstairs shower. P.S. - anyone surprised just how many commentators can't even open a plastic bag? LOL LOL
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
886
I applaud the new bedding, although it is a bit ominous that the pictures show only one pillow on a Bedroom lower berth. But WHEN?
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,017
Even if we couldn’t get full service dining back could they at least invest that amount of money into better quality food? At least I might be able to eat the chocolate bar as my dessert. (No gf dessert options in contemporary dining)
Not under a congressionally-imposed "don't lose money on food and beverage" mandate.

Make that go away and more money can be applied to the problem.
 

Just-Thinking-51

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
1,949
Not under a congressionally-imposed "don't lose money on food and beverage" mandate.

Make that go away and more money can be applied to the problem.
Accounting. Since Amtrak credits 10 usd for a brownie to the account of a First Class Acela Passengers, but then charges 5 usd cash for the same brownie from the cafe car. The price of the food, and the internal price credit to the service is know to be flexible.

Since your doing this type of flexibility account. Then you can do the same in a full service dinner car for the meals service to sleeping car passenger. Internal credit a higher amount to the dinner from each meal served to a sleeping car passenger. Report a small profit for food service and bam you meet your mandate.

Now where’s my constant fee?
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,017
So in one thread, we're decrying phoney accounting and fraud, based on next to nothing. But here in this thread, it's A-OK and Amtrak should be doing more of it?

Right.
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
458
That’s the whole point Anderson doesn’t care about a law/mandate /honest accounting/etc, he’s picking and choosing bits and pieces for his agenda.

The overall system is broken and Anderson is taking advantage of it. As far as a basis for my views on the phoniness of Amtrak’s accounting. The lies and skewed facts Anderson started with on the SWC and continues to spew to this day speak volumes on his integrity and Amtrak’s “reported” performance stats.

So in one thread, we're decrying phoney accounting and fraud, based on next to nothing. But here in this thread, it's A-OK and Amtrak should be doing more of it?

Right.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,017
That assumes a lot of facts that we know absolutely nothing about.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,564
So in one thread, we're decrying phoney accounting and fraud, based on next to nothing. But here in this thread, it's A-OK and Amtrak should be doing more of it?

Right.
I think that, fundamentally, the issue is the end more than the means. If Amtrak was clearly fudging accounting for the sake of improving service and working around a bad mandate with what amounted to a legal fiction, that would be one thing. I would note that the suggestion has been made (somewhere) that Amtrak might consider just transferring a fixed cost amount from sleepers to the diner for the presence of the diner (I even considered the option of doing so for all LD pax...a $7-10 "accommodation charge", maybe a bit more on longer trips, being assessed in lieu of an equivalent chunk of the fare that automatically transfers to F&B would actually basically plug the hole). That was before coach access to the diner was cut off. Bear in mind that at an RPA meeting some years ago, we had an official from Amtrak tacitly admit that mucking about with F&B transfers was Amtrak's workaround for the Mica mandate (as he cheekily encouraged us all to order the steak), and the "land and sea combo" was one such kludge as far as I could tell.

Another issue I was raising in the other thread was the obvious disconnect between costs on different trains and the (apparent) performance of food and beverage service on those trains. For example, it is entirely probable that the Acela Cafe loses a good deal of money but inflated First Class F&B transfers (sitting in the range of $30-50 for a meal and easily $20 for drinks on a WAS-NYP run) cover for that. It's even possible that Acela First transfers are "covering" for losses on the Northeast Regionals (since IIRC the IG report on F&B only looked at the NEC as a unit rather than breaking down performance between the two trains). For what it is worth, I can at least see being "billed" $50-60 for a meal on the Acela (with at-seat service, plates, silverware, etc.). Being "billed" the same price for a glorified Chinese takeout bag bugs me (and yes, it is partially presentation), and it gets even more insulting to realize that sleeper pax were being "billed" half the price under the old system (so we're paying more and getting less).

Finally, at least for me there was a facepalm-inducing point that despite being able to tamper with the accounting on the Acela in terms of what pax are being "billed" for, and despite clear disconnects between the posted prices for F&B and the accounting prices for F&B, there's still no way for Amtrak to sell a decent meal to coach pax on the eastern LD trains.

Basically, if questionable accounting is being used as a means to the end of maintaining good service in the face of a crazy mandate, I think we're mostly fine with it (even if there's likely to be some humor poked at it). It's when there are obvious shenanigans and they appear to be operating to the detriment of good service (or if they're to the benefit of it, it's something worthy of a Batman comic) that we start having issues.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,017
Basically, if questionable accounting is being used as a means to the end of maintaining good service in the face of a crazy mandate, I think we're mostly fine with it
Quite frankly, that's BS. Questionable accounting is bad, regardless of what it's being used for. Good decisions are rooted in good data. Without good data, good decisions are impossible.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,564
Quite frankly, that's BS. Questionable accounting is bad, regardless of what it's being used for. Good decisions are rooted in good data. Without good data, good decisions are impossible.
Yes and no. There's been a raging question as to whether Anderson has good data to make decisions on, and that is an issue. Arguably it's at the crux of this whole fiasco, since if Anderson is seeing Amtrak mark down $50-60 in "revenue" for a meal on the Acela versus $35-40 for a meal on the Meteor and he's catching hell for what's going on with the LD trains, it's going to create a bias in his decision-making process.

Now, whether Amtrak's internal accounting strictly follows GAAP or it is designed otherwise so as to give management an accurate picture of what's going on in the company? There are always multiple ways to account for distributing costs (and more than one valid way in many cases). But it seems entirely plausible that, in dealing with an mandate (and an insane one at that), something wonky might need to happen since I definitely get the feeling that some Congresscritters don't have a terribly realistic view on how certain things do/should work. The question is whether the cocked-up accounting is something that's being done to work around externally-induced insanity or whether it is a product of internal views and the like.

(To be clear, the inventory sheet should, in my view, be indicating either the retail cost of the item(s) in question or the cost to Amtrak of said items. Thinking this through, if Amtrak then adds a burden on them, they should do so after that. Frankly, this feels like it might be at the root of the F&B mess if Amtrak is burdening the sales twice (once at inventory and then a second time later on).)
 

Just-Thinking-51

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
1,949
Good decisions are rooted in good data. Without good data, good decisions are decisions are impossible.
Win, but still wondering what came first the chicken or the egg. Or in these case why fudge the numbers for one type of service but not for all types? Got something to prove Amtrak?
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
273
6 coolers? I can't even party that much! LOL
SarahZ was being factious with "6". It's actually just the red one. The table has to come down to open the bed...so where exactly are you putting that big tray of stuff? The area around the sink is only big enough for a bar of soap!
 

Attachments

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,778
I just hope they do not switch to cotton-poly blend sheets. I mean, I still value lying flat and the privacy, but it would be annoying to have to tell the attendant to remove the sheets as well as the pillows.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,778
Even if we couldn’t get full service dining back could they at least invest that amount of money into better quality food? At least I might be able to eat the chocolate bar as my dessert. (No gf dessert options in contemporary dining)
Oatmeal without added sugar would be an easy one. Downeaster has it. Boiled eggs were proven to be possible, too. Instead, pure sugar garbage....
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,717
It has actually long irked me that Amtrak charges hundreds of dollars per night for sleeping accommodations, yet offers the same shower amenities as a Motel 6: a bar of soap and a thin towel.

IMHO, the amenities are a much welcomed change, even if they just mount big bottles of shampoo in the common shower and put a stack of nice towels in the changing room.

That’s also at the heart of the discussion about sleeper service. Does Amtrak want to treat actually treat it like a true premium service? Or do they keep it like the current product, which feels like a weird hybrid between a premium service and a budget motel?

That’s also the issue with the thin blankets being given to passengers still in plastic wrap...

Are we capable of unwrapping a blanket and putting it on our bed? Of course we are.

Does it feel like a premium experience worth paying hundreds of dollars a night for? Absolutely not.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,478
Oatmeal without added sugar would be an easy one. Downeaster has it. Boiled eggs were proven to be possible, too. Instead, pure sugar garbage....
Amtrak cascades has standard oatmeal as well served “dining car style”
 
2
Top